By Michael James LeClair
The Nashoba Regional girls’ basketball team continued its red-hot pace on Friday night.
The host Chieftains welcomed Westborough High School and dominated from start to finish as they blasted the Rangers 66-28.
Nashoba remains flawless on the season, improving to 13-0 with the league win and 7-0 in Midland League B.
Nashoba also completes the season sweep of Westborough, winning both meetings this season between the two squads. The Chieftains cruised to a 54-33 road win back on December 19 at Westborough.
“I was very pleased with the performance out of our girls tonight. It was a great team win. Everyone went out and played hard at both ends of the floor,” said Nashoba head coach Beth McNamara following the victory. “I thought we played really good defense and we moved the ball pretty well on the offensive end.”
With seven games left on the regular season slate, the Chieftains chances of a perfect regular season are still alive. The defending Central Mass. Division 2 champion compiled an undefeated regular season last winter. Nashoba’s only loss of the 2013-2014 winter season was in the state semifinals to Longmeadow. The Chieftains finished the year 22-1.
“We know come playoff time that there are many good teams so these girls will be ready when the postseason begins,” said McNamara. “This is a talented group and they will stay focused on what we need to accomplish.”
Friday night began with a little emotion as the Chieftains took part in the Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge. Prior to the game Nashoba athletic director Tania Rich addressed the crowd in attendance and informed them in light of the recent tragedy with the passing of sophomore Michelle Farnsworth after a long battle with cancer the school would be starting a scholarship in her name with all the proceeds from Friday night’s game.
The entire Nashoba coaching staff including McNamara and assistant coaches Barry Call and Ross Cormier was sporting “Team Michelle” t-shirts for Friday night’s game. When asked if she wanted to speak about the emotions surrounding Friday night the visibly upset McNamara had no comment.
At the end of the evening, Rich was able to put into words the atmosphere and talked about how special Farnsworth was to the Nashoba community.
“It’s been a tough week, It’s been a real whirlwind around here. Michelle was a true inspiration to everyone. To watch her smile and fight through everything really pulled everyone together,” said Rich. “I think right now the Nashoba family has come together in support of her throughout this fight and now in her memory.”
According to Rich, the boys’ basketball program held similar Coaches vs. Cancer contest last Friday night in memory of Farnsworth.
Nashoba’s senior trio of Kelly Poole (10 points), Elizabeth Shepple (nine points) and Nicole Boucher (eight points) led the way for the winners. A total of 13 players found their way into the scorebook for Nashoba.
The hosts seized control early in this one, jumping out to a 19-2 advantage on their way to a 24-8 lead after the first quarter. That lead expanded to a 28-point heading into halftime 39-11.
The second half was more of the same for the Chieftains and Rangers. Nashoba kept its foot on the gas pedal and never relinquished during the final 16 minutes.
Brianna Morrisseau tossed in six points while Sarah Gillooly and Erin Cressman each scored five points for the Chieftains.
Speaking of Cressman, The Nashoba senior entered Friday night’s contest just 54 points shy of becoming the second female in school history to reach the 1,000 point plateau. Cressman was coming off back to back big nights, scoring 34 points against Tyngsborough on January 19 before adding 22 points against Marlborough on January 20.